News Article Release
Navy Dance Team Greets Honor Flight Veterans
Posted on: October 21, 2013 08:00 EDT by Midshipman 1st Class Kellie Hall
Midshipmen participation in the widely known Honor Flight Program has increased this semester. The women of the Naval Academy Dance Team arrived at Baltimore Washington International Airport Oct. 19 for the first time to greet three incoming Honor Flights.
The Honor Flight Network facilitates visits to Washington, D.C. for World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War veterans to see their national monuments. Midshipmen and other service members in the area help commemorate these veterans by greeting and cheering them on as they debark from their flights upon arrival.
Greeting the veterans is a truly rewarding experience for both parties involved and is a chance to recognize the veterans for their continual service – something the ladies of Navy Dance wanted to take part in. Only two of the twelve ladies had participated in the program before and understood its impact.
“What this experience meant to me was beyond words. I felt honored to be in the presence of these brave service members and to shake their hands. They are true patriots,” said Midshipman 1st Class Gabriela Scherer.
Scherer later approached the Navy Dance Team about partaking in the program at some point this semester, and Team Captain Midshipman 1st Class Shanon Lavin made the arrangements.
“It allowed us to bond as a sisterhood over something that is bigger than ourselves,” said Lavin.
Seeing the faces of so many veterans helped the women realize the impact taking part in the service can have. It helped to motivate and revitalize the spirits of the underclassmen on the team as they struggle to adjust to life here at the Naval Academy.
“This reminded me why I came to the Naval Academy,” said Midshipman 4th Class Suzanne Bigley. “It is really easy to get caught up in the silly plebe requirements and the stress of school, but seeing the veterans from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War reminded me how I came to serve my country and to hopefully become like them someday.”
Their genuine love for the country and their service was so admirable and inspirational that it's something I will never forget,” said Bigley.
The experience had a similar effect on Midshipman 4th Class Nicole Kim.
“Each of them greeted me and thanked me for coming with tear-filled eyes and all I could think about was how thankful I was to be in the presence of those who have gone before me,” said Kim.
Overall, their attendance on Saturday was a huge to success to both the program and to the women involved.
"It brought more of a sense of purpose to the life path that I have chosen,” said Lavin.